Rugby in the Community launches!

Welcome to Professional Rugby in the Community. This blog is about the community work undertaken by Premier Rugby and the clubs of the Guinness Premiership. Premier Rugby operates community schemes on a national level, including the EDF Energy National Schools Rugby Programme (one of the most comprehensive rugby programmes in the world), as well as regionally through the clubs. Our goal is to be the most successful professional sport in the community area. Through this blog, we want to show how we’re helping our partners (government departments, charities and NGOs) accomplish governmental objectives related to sports participation, health, education and other areas. We want each professional rugby club to be the epicentre of its local community, and hope that the examples and best practices we share on this blog will generate debate and further discussion. Please feel free to comment on any of our posts, and if you have any questions please email me.

Bath Rugby Opens Playing for Success Centre

Last month Bath Rugby officially opened its Rugby Education Centre (REC) in rousing style with a Haka from students at Fitzmaurice Primary School in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire. Students from the Bath region, including those at Fitzmaurice Primary School, use the REC to improve their literacy, numeracy, confidence and self-esteem through rugby in the exciting environment of a rugby stadium. The Centre is run as a part of Playing for Success, an initiative from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).

In this video, deputy head Paula Dawkins talks about how bringing students to the REC makes them more motivated to learn and more confident back at school, and student Kyle gives a speech about how going to the REC has helped him improve his attitude:

Read more about the event on the Bath Rugby site here and the Fitzmaurice Primary School site here.

Tindall celebrates 500 schools in EDF programme

In January Gloucester and England player Mike Tindall visited Minsterworth School in Gloucester to celebrate the 500th school taking part in the EDF Energy National Schools Rugby programme. The programme has exposed tag rugby to thousands of 8-10 year olds, and will reach 112,000 children by July 2009.

Mike said: “I’m delighted to be helping to celebrate that 50,000 children have been introduced to rugby through the EDF Energy National Schools Rugby Programme in just a year. The enthusiasm of the youngsters at Minsterworth School really does show the benefits of such a comprehensive programme.

“We need to bring rugby to new audiences and to give children a taste of the game at an early age. Tag rugby is a brilliant way of getting kids into rugby and helping them get fit and healthy. When you provide quality coaching and the right equipment, and have teachers and children who are keen, then you stand a really good chance of laying solid foundations for the future of the sport.”

Read more about the visit here.

How rugby union clubs work within schools

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Last year the Guardian’s Education section ran an article about what clubs in the Guinness Premiership (particularly Saracens, Newcastle Falcons and Bath Rugby) are doing to promote healthy lifestyles in schools. You can read Ariana Green’s piece here, and download the podcast (MP3) by clicking here.

Matthew Tait visits London School

Last fall Matthew Tait visited London’s Hounslow Heath Junior School as part of the EDF Energy National Schools Rugby Programme. Check out the video above!